Alenor remembered little of the night before, only just how tired and dragged down she felt. It felt as if she were ten times how old she really was, the events of finding whatever she had found was disoriented and broken. Rising that morning felt like she should be dead and Elrond who had come to see how she was faring immediately sent her back to bed with a worried frown and shake of his head. Alenor was sure now that he had posted someone outside her door to make sure she did not run off and read or work on something. His orders were specific, sleep and rest, and goodness knows you look like the living dead. Goodness knows Alenor felt like the living dead.
“Alenor I wish to speak with you right now.” Alenor lifted her head a fraction off her pillow and then let it crash down again and snuggled under the covers once more. They were lighter then the ones used for winter, but it was enough to feel nice and warm.
“Not now Gandalf,” she complained. “Not now! I’m resting. Elrond’s orders.” Maybe that would make him go away. It seemed not to for a moment later she heard him sit down beside the bed in the chair.
“Lord Elrond’s orders that I find out where that gem came from,” he said stubbornly and with the firm `don’t cross lines with a wizard’ voice. Alenor pulled the covers from her head and looked Gandalf in the face.
“Gem?” she asked in a confused voice. Was that she had found? All she could remember was smacking her head against some branch and blank, nothing. Gandalf looked at her as if she were lying.
“Alenor where did you find it?” he demanded. “This is no time for fooling around!” Alenor sat up and hugged her knees to her chest.
“What gem?” she asked. “I can’t remember. I mean I hit my head, but that’s it. Blank, nothing, drill me all you what Mithrandir but I will not remember.” She rested her head against her knees and sought to find answers for herself. Blank wall, frowning then in concentration she moved back in time. Blank, right after she awoke the second time from Elladan’s visit, she could only remember the advice words and the breaking image of her father.
“Alenor,” Gandalf said breaking through her thoughts and sounding a trifle annoyed. “I don’t want your nonsense excuses.” Alenor lay back down again and locked Gandalf’s eyes in hers.
“I don’t remember anything,” she said truthfully, her gaze never wavering. “I don’t remember a single thing.” Gandalf was silent and then he breathed a deep breath.
“What happened child that you can’t remember?” he asked in an awed voice. “Surely it can’t just be the branch.” At this Alenor squirmed uncomfortably, she had her thoughts at this point on who it was, but she didn’t want to find out for sure and for sure she didn’t want Gandalf to know about it.
“No, I want to rest,” she said and it was truth. “I feel like the living dead now let me be.” Turning her back from Gandalf in hopes he would take this as a rude dismissing, Alenor buried herself under the covers again.
“I’m not leaving Alenor until I have my answers,” Gandalf said.
“You can wait all day,” Alenor said in annoyed manner. “I can wait all day. Quiz me tomorrow when I’m back in Rivendell.” There was a rather perplexed noise from Gandalf as he snorted.
“Alenor I’ll rip those blankets from you if you remain unresponsive!” he declared. Alenor grumbled gripping the blankets tighter to her body so that he wouldn’t be able to rip them away. Alenor let herself drift at this point and welcomed the haven of sleep that came so she could escape from Gandalf. There was no way she was going to tell Gandalf who it was, or thought it was. There was no way he was going to learn about Elladan until he was reborn and the family could live in peace for some time.
When Alenor finally cast away the veil of sleep and awoke for a second time, she was happy to find that she was in a much better shape and that Gandalf was not hovering over the bedside ready to pounce her with more questions. The best thing was on the bedside table was a tray with still steaming hot food, her mouth watered. Not caring of whether to make herself sick or not Alenor heaved it onto her lap and ate until it was gone.
“You’re hungry, Lord Elrond thought so,” she lifted her head and quickly lowered it once more. Absently she picked a few crumbs from the plates and crammed them in her mouth.
“I didn’t know you arrived,” she muttered to her tray.
“Yesterday,” he answered. “Alenor I want. . .”
“To say what?” Alenor interrupted. “We aren’t friends? Never will be? Why all my letters on asking your well being were left unanswered but for two?” She heard the door silently shut and the footsteps come to the edge of the bed and he seated himself while Alenor winced.
“No,” he corrected, he reached and took the tray from her hands and set it back on the table. “I’ve come to say I’m sorry. It’s been a horrible five years Alenor I have wanted to say sorry for so long, but I didn’t know how.” All at once a wave, of anger and hurt overwhelmed Alenor and she clenched the covers in her hands.
“A horrible five years for you? It’s your Eru cursed Elvish pride! You’re . . .I don’t even know I why I’m wasting breath on this situation! Get out! You’ve hurt me to no end! You don’t even know how horrible it was. Now get out! Get out of my room! Go get yourself drunk you cursed Elf!”
“Alenor please,” he begged and Alenor raised her head to stare into his eyes.
“Get out,” she said, her voice shaking now, with the built up hurt and anger that she had kept inside not knowing how to vent it. The dam had broken and it was not about to stop until he was gone to hide in some little hole where she could continuously berate him on how he had caused so much worry. Legolas stumbled and quietly left, but not before Alenor saw the hurt built up in his eyes, and how much he was sorry for whatever he had said.
Feeling as if every ounce of new energy was spent Alenor collapsed on the bed and looked to the ceiling. She could cry now that emotions had suddenly worn off. Why had she said that? At the thought an onslaught of tears rolled down her face in uncontrollable rivulets. Turning she buried her head in the pillow hoping that in turn she could suffocate herself and end this stupidity. She wasn’t aware of the added weight on her bed until she was lifted and gently cradled in someone’s arms as if she were a baby.
At this Alenor ceased to cry, not only from wondering who, but was embarrassed that someone had seen her cry. She should have got to her places, places where she wandered no more since the day, and cried there.
“Oh Alenor, Alenor, I’m sorry. I’ve Eru cursed stubbornness and this is my entire fault!” She recognized the voice, but the hurt wouldn’t come, nor would the anger. She felt only relief that he had come back and found her crying over it.
“Brainless she-elf,” she cursed herself as a few tears leaked down her eyes and she pulled the blankets on top of her.
“You’re not brainless,” Legolas interjected her. “If anyone is I am. I don’t know how long I read those letters and felt so angry, but knew I wasn’t. My father tried to see me through, but he couldn’t, no one could, it was horrible. It must have been worse for you.”
“I had my things to do,” Alenor lied. She felt like a small child being comforted by her father, it was an odd feeling “Helping the maids. Kitchen work, when needed, they gossip down there too much. Keeping Bilbo busy as he drilled me in Elven Tongue. See I had my things to do.” Not all was lie, she had done that, but she had been worried about it the whole time as well.
“You are also lying,” Legolas said breaking through her feeble mirage of protests. “You were always a bad liar. Worse then Elladan.” He fell silent. “I haven’t seen Elrohir is he all right?” Alenor frowned, she was meeting the blank wall again and nothing was coming through. She groaned in frustration.
“He’s probably, probably, out somewhere,” Alenor said, thinking on what it usually meant when Elrohir was never to be found in Rivendell. “He still wars with himself, so when things get overbearing he will leave for a few days, we all know he stays in Rivendell however and when he’s feeling right again he will show up. It usually takes a week.”
“Hmm,” Legolas said quietly. “Perhaps he is the secret place? Remember when he came there?” Alenor nodded tightening the blanket around her slim form she shifted slightly.
“We’re not going there,” she told Legolas. “Leave Elrohir alone. You were right so many years ago, so right, some things do not change.”
“I know you are not inexperienced Alenor, but you just refused to see things with open eyes,” Legolas said, drawing a soft chuckle and a shake of his head. “Now off me! You’re too heavy!” He dropped her back on top of the bed, leaving Alenor blinking and wondering what had happened.
“I’m only 109!” Alenor protested when she had got her bearings. Legolas snorted.
“But you weigh enough to outweigh one troll,” he muttered it, but it was purposely leveled so Alenor heard it. She gave a hurt gasp.
“Legolas your dead!” she cried and lunged and threw her blanket over his head. After grabbing a firm hold on the blanket she head locked him in a headlock so he couldn’t see or possibly breathe. He was giving muffled shouts through the light blanket, trying blindly to pull Alenor off him. Grimly she held him and wondered what he was yelling.
“Say, `Mercy!’ Come on!” she jabbed him in the sides playfully and he jerked and gave a muffled laugh. There was another muffled noise, probably Legolas doing as she asked. At that point he grabbed her middle and attempted to pull her off, the wrong way, straight off the bed. With a cry Alenor tumbled off grabbing onto Legolas’s arms as she fell, the blanket came from his head, to land disrespectfully on top of her, drawing a gasp as the air escaped from her lungs, and the door opened and the blanket fell on top of them.
We return to the forests again. Our hobbit friend has lost all faith and finds the true meaning of apathy by the end of this chapter. He is taken captive by a band of elves and one human. This chapter suggests that some of his past will be revealed soon.